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Zero The Hero

If you ask someone who knows me well to describe me using 3 words I can almost guarantee you that “indecisive” would be one of them. I cannot make big decisions, it’s paralyzing to me. To be honest I can’t really make small ones either. I usually defer to whoever I’m with to decide where we eat, or if I should purchase the pair of shoes and so on and so forth. This isn’t a quality I like about myself. I actually hate it. I agonize and ruminate and eventually just give up and make something to eat at home or put the purchase in question back on the shelf and leave the store.

This also isn’t a quality that lends itself well to big decision making (ie. deciding to adopt a dog). I grew up always having pets and knew it was something I eventually wanted to do. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I looked for YEARS for the right dog. We went to dog adoption after dog adoption. I spent time volunteering at a rescue. I would go to the animal shelter and just wander the aisles looking. It was a LOT and like I said earlier, this continued on and off for about 6 years. My dream dog was a pitbull and I definitely did not want a small dog, they generally do nothing for me emotionally other than annoy me. Eventually I decided that my husband and I should curb the idea until after we had a kid and just enjoy the time we had left without any of the responsibilities that come with keeping another living thing alive.

Then one day I was scrolling my Instagram and saw this…(did I mention yet that I follow a billion animal related accounts? I live for cute animal content, it’s really all that matters on Instagram anyway.)

MATZO. HIS NAME WAS MATZO. AS IN THE THE UNLEAVENED JEWISH FLATBREAD. Immediately I was smitten. Was this fate? He was Jewish, I am 1/8th Jewish (this is a scientific figure based on the fact that growing up we celebrated 1 out of the 8 days of Hanukkah), he was an adult and I always said I had no desire for a puppy (puppies are hard, guys. Don’t let the cute appearance fool you. That adorable, fat, little puppy you see, that’s a survival technique. It’s a genius disguise. They have to look like that so you don’t murder them when they destroy your home and your life). Also, when is the last time you saw a snow white Chihuahua? He reminded me of a mix of Ghost (as in Jon Snow’s wolf) and Falkor The Luck Dragon but…smaller. I had to go see him. So I went. I drove to the rescue and visited him. And then I visited him again, and again…In total I visited him 3 times before deciding to adopt him. Twice alone and once with my husband. Upon leaving the rescue after my last visit with my husband I broke down and cried in the car. Why couldn’t I make a decision? What was wrong with me? Was this how I was going to live the rest of my life? Never having new experiences, never going beyond my comfort zone, always being paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake or a bad choice? Finally I settled down and took comfort in an order of Animal Style fries from In-N-Out. I knew how sweet this little guy was, I finally had the time after quitting modeling, we could afford it financially; it all seemed perfect but I still couldn’t pull the trigger and I was becoming increasingly stressed and irritated with myself and my lack of ability to make a simple decision.

This is when I made the best choice I could have ever made for myself, I asked for help. I called my best friend, someone I trust and who has known me and all my little and not so little idiosyncrasies for a very long time. I confided in her about how I felt and all the frustration I was feeling internally and I asked her to make a choice for me and she did. She laid it out to me in a way I could understand, using logic not emotion and we walked through the elements that were causing me so much emotional distress. The next day we went together and adopted the doggie formally known as Matzo, and he became Zero.

Don’t get me wrong the anxiety did not end there, the first night with him I panicked. We walked in the house and the very first thing he did was lift his leg to pee. Then I put him in his crate so I could safely take a shower without worrying about what he could potentially be destroying in my house…The sounds that came out of that crate were traumatizing. Zero was SCREAMING and crying. Yelping bloody murder. I broke down. Went into full panic mode. I sat in my husbands office, closed the door and cried in the dark. My worst fears were manifesting. I had made a horrible choice, a BIG mistake. This was exactly the feeling I was scared to feel and why I was having such a hard time making this decision in the first place.

Things eventually calmed down. My husband got home and helped me with the dog but I didn’t feel any better. I laid on the couch that night, dog in my arms crying. Mentally planning on how I would bring him back to the rescue, what I would say to my friends and family, how disappointed I was in myself and how this was going to be how the rest of my life would be. I wouldn’t be able to break out of my comfort zone and let go. I did have a small voice inside my head though. One that was rooting me on, trying to quiet my screaming ego (thank you therapy).

The first night was rough. There was a lot more drama coming from the crate. I would say it took him about 10 days to become completely comfortable with it in there and now he loves it. My angel of a best friend made plans with me the next day, knowing I would be panicking, to distract me and lend emotional support. I remember being at lunch with she and Zero and saying out loud “I’m going to give it a few days to see if he is the right fit and if he isn’t I will just take him back to the rescue and he will find a great home.” Admitting this now is almost hard to write, it makes me feel shame to acknowledge ever having those thoughts.

By day 3 I was in love. Zero was mine and we needed each other. He needed me for the basic necessities one needs to sustain life but I needed him for a lot more. He was the lesson I needed to learn, that everything can be OK. That sometimes great things start out hard or scary or overwhelming but it doesn’t mean that they are a mistake. I needed to learn to trust the people who love me and have my best interest at heart when I cannot trust myself. I needed to learn that it’s ALWAYS a good idea to ask for help.

We have had Zero for 4 months and 3 days now but it feels like he has been with us forever. He is the greatest and I cannot imagine my life without this little 5lb buddy. You might be thinking “wow. this girl is OBSESSED with her dog.” You wouldn’t be wrong BUT it’s more than that. Zero is a constant reminder, a real life example for me of everything working out.

I started this post to write about the journey of adopting my dog but it evolved and turned into me writing about myself and something that has been a big roadblock for me in my life. How often do we look at someone’s profile on Instagram or whatever other social media platform and think that they have a perfectly easy life? FAKE NEWS. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE deals with something and the perfect life does not exist. Ask for help when you need it, surround yourself with people who want the best for you and love you. Be kind to yourself, you deserve that.

This all feels like a slightly disjointed mess but its my blog and I guess that means I can do whatever I want (my love language). In closing I will say, Zero is the best choice I never made. Now sit back and enjoy the spam.

XO, Hellowhitney


  • A Perfect Kind Of Day...

    I love this post! Those first couple days were probably terrifying for zero too. Honestly, that moment a few days in, when you completely fell for him, is probably that moment he realized he was finally safe and understood that you were truly his forever home.

  • Alexandra

    Omg girl this made me cry. I got my chihuahua a long time ago when I was still a kid living with my parents. So I had the support and he had a wonderful life. Until I moved out and it was just the two of us for a few years. It was hard, but we bonded so much and became inseparable. I lost him last year and have basically been depressed since. He was the love of my life and made my life complete for 13 years. He made me smile. Everyone who knew us said he made me happy and once he was gone, that happiness was gone too. I’m now thinking about adopting again, but I’m scared. I’ve always become attached to those close to me and losing them is just too hard. My anxiety kicks in and making a decision that isn’t selfish is extremely hard. My motto is, everything will happen for a reason. If my Zero comes along, I’m taking him.

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